By winning Sunday, the Seahawks have a chance to record their third undefeated home record. Seattle, 7-0, also went undefeated at home in 2003 and 2005.
GAME: St. Louis Rams (7-7-1, 3rd, NFC West) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5, 2nd NFC West). TYPE: Regular season. WEEK: 17. WHEN: Sunday, 1:25 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 29th (Seahawks lead 17-11). STREAKS: Seahawks W 4; Rams W 1. HEAD COACHES: Jeff Fisher, St. Louis; Pete Carroll, Seattle. LINE: Seahawks by 10½. TV: FOX. RADIO: ESPN 710 AM, KIRO 97.3 FM.
Winners of six of seven and looking to extend their longest winning streak in five seasons to five games, the Seahawks close out the regular season Sunday with a faint chance of winning the NFC West and with a more realistic shot at locking down the conference’s No. 5 seed. But in St. Louis, the Seahawks will face an opponent that has been on a hot streak of its own.
Seattle, which also has an opportunity for its third undefeated record at home (also 2003, 2005), can clinch the NFC West with a win and a San Francisco loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Seattle can also become the No. 2 seed in the NFC with a win and losses by San Francisco and Green Bay at Minnesota.
But the Rams, who started 3-5, have won four of their past five, including a 28-13 victory at Tampa Bay Sunday. In those five, St. Louis limited its opponents to 17 points or fewer while featuring a much more efficient offense, according to Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
“I think the last four games Steven Jackson has really been taking off,” said Bradley. “In the Tampa game I think he really showed up. He’s running harder. He always runs hard, but it seems like he has just stepped it up the last couple of games and is running like a different person.
“I think Sam Bradford has a lot more confidence from last year to this year. You see him taking big shots. He’s got some good receivers on the perimeter. They’re just really a team that has gained confidence over the last six or seven games.”
Although the Rams will miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season, they will arrive at CenturyLink with a chance for their first four-game road winning streak since going 8-0 in 2001. The Rams can also post their first winning record since going 12-4 nine years ago.
“Obviously we have a long ways to go, but I think our younger players are improving, settling down, understanding their roles, and making some plays,” said Rams coach Jeff Fisher. “I think the difference in some of these games has been turnovers. We had a stretch there were we went six consecutive weeks where we did not get a defensive turnover, and it’s hard to win consistently with that stat.
“Last week we were obviously fortunate to get some turnovers and win a game down in Tampa. We’ve healed up just a little bit on the defensive side. Offensively we lost Harvey Dahl, which was a blow, but we got some pretty good play out of the right guard position by alternating both of the players.
“We’re going to play hard. We’re going to finish up strong. This is a chance to finish out on a winning note and a chance to be undefeated in the division. If we’re able to do that, I’d say then we can jump into the offseason with optimism for next year.”
The Rams and Seahawks met Sept. 30 in the Edward Jones Dome and St. Louis came away with a 19-13 win, in which Russell Wilson threw three interceptions without a touchdown and produced a 45.8 passer rating, his second-lowest of the season.
“Obviously, they (the Seahawks) are a much improved a team,” said Fisher. “Teams get better as the year goes on, and Wilson is certainly a lot better player now than he was when we faced him. I can’t remember a team that is averaging 50 points a game over three consecutive weeks, so that’s very impressive.
“Their younger players are just getting better and better, and it starts with the quarterback. They’re healthy, they’re playing hard, they’re making plays in all three phases.”
During Seattle’s four-game winning streak, Wilson has thrown for eight scores and rushed for three more. He has 16 TD passes vs. two interceptions at the Clink and needs one touchdown pass to tie Peyton Manning’s rookie record of 26 in 1998.
“We have a frontline, first-rate quarterback going out there in these games and you are seeing that,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said.
Marshawn Lynch, just named to the Pro Bowl along with C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, KR Leon Washington and S Earl Thomas, rushed for 1,490 yards and needs 10 to become the third Seattle back, following Chris Warren (1994) and Shaun Alexander (2004-05), to reach 1,500.
The big news of the week for Seattle came when the NFL determined that CB Richard Sherman will not be suspended for the next four games. Also, CB Marcus Trufant is expected to play Sunday, although he still has a sore hamstring. CB Walter Thurmond won’t play (hamstring) and OT Breno Giacomini is questionable (elbow), as is LB Leroy Hill.
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 31, 1976, when the Los Angeles Rams hammered the Seahawks 45-6 in the Kingdome. The Seahawks have won 15 of the past 20 meetings and 13 of the last 15. In the four previous contests, the Seahawks outscored the Rams 83-45, although the Rams won the last won 19-13 Sept. 20.
LAST MEETING: (Rams 19, Seahawks 13, Sept. 30): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder, which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day — a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter/holder Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.
Seahawks: 10-5, 2nd, NFC West; scored 390 points (26.1 per game), ranking 8th; allowed 232 points (15.5 per game), 1st; differential of +160 points ranks 2nd. Rams: 7-7-1, 3rd, NFC West; scored 286 points (19.1), ranked 26th; allowed 328 (21.9), 21st; differential of -42 points ranks 21st.
SEAHAWKS HEAD COACH: Pete Carroll (56-54 career, 23-23 Seattle) is in his third season. In 2010, he directed Seattle to the NFC West title, the Seahawks becoming the first team in NFL history to win a division with a losing (7-9) record. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Carroll served as head coach at Southern California, where his Trojans won seven Pac-10 titles.
SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACKS: Russell Wilson at Arizona — 18 of 34 for 153 yards, 1 TD, one INT, 62.5 passer rating; vs. Dallas — 15 of 20, 151 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 112.7 rating; vs. Green Bay — 10 of 21 for 130 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 99.3 passer rating; at St. Louis — 17 of 25, 160 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 45.8 passer rating; at Carolina — 19 of 25, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs, 82.2 passer rating; vs. New England, 16 of 27, 293 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 133.7 passer rating; at San Francisco, 9 of 23, 122 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 38.7 passer rating; at Detroit, 25 of 35 for 236 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 96.8 passer rating; vs. Minnesota, 16 of 24, 173 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs, 127.3 passer rating; vs. New York Jets, 12 of 19, 188 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 131.0 passer rating; at Miami, 21 of 27, 224 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 125.9 passer rating; at Chicago, 23 of 37, 293 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 104.9 passer rating; vs. Arizona, 7 of 13, 148 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 88.0 passer rating; at Buffalo (Toronto), 14 of 23, 205 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs, 104.4 passer rating; vs. San Francisco, 15 of 21, 177 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 115.3 passer rating. Matt Flynn — vs. Arizona, 5 of 9, 68 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 79.9 passer rating; at Buffalo (Toronto), no statistics; vs. San Francisco, no statistics.
SEAHAWKS STATS / NOTES
TEAM OFFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||5248||16||Total Yards||4933||24|
|Yards / Game||349.9||16||Yards / Game||328.9||24|
|Rush Yards||2426||2||Rush Yards||1635||19|
|Rush / Game||161.7||2||Rush / Game||109.0||19|
|Pass Yards||2822||27||Pass Yards||3298||19|
|Pass / Game||188.1||27||Pass / Game||219.9||19|
|Points / Game||26.1||8||Points / Game||19.1||26|
TEAM DEFENSIVE RANKINGS
|Total Yards||4568||4||Total Yards||5120||15|
|Yards / Game||304.5||4||Yards / Game||341.3||15|
|Rush / Allw.||1570||11||Rush / Allw.||1727||16|
|Rush / Game||104.7||11||Rush / Game||115.1||16|
|Pass Allw.||2998||5||Pass Allw.||3393||15|
|Pass / Game||199.9||5||Pass / Game||226.2||15|
|Points Allw.||232||1||Points Allw.||328||14|
|Points / Game||15.5||1||Points / Game||21.9||14|
SEAHAWKS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
SEAHAWKS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Wagner 130, Wright 87, Chancellor 84|
|Sacks||Clemons 11.5, Irvin 8.0, Mebane, 3.0|
|Quarterback Hits||Clemons 21, Irvin 17, 4 with 5|
|Interceptions||Sherman 7, Browner 3, Wagner 3|
|Passes Defensed||Sherman 23, Thomas 9, Browner 6|
|Forced Fumbles||Browner 3, Clemons 3|
|Fumbles Recovered||Eight tied with one each|
RAMS NOTES: The Rams defeated Washington (31-28), Seattle (19-13), Arizona (17-3 and 31-17), San Francisco (16-13), Buffalo (15-12) and Tampa Bay (28-13), lost to Detroit (27-23), Chicago (23-6), Miami (17-14), Green Bay (30-20), New England (45-7), New York Jets (27-13) and Minnesota (36-22) and tied San Francisco (13-13, won in OT 16-13) . . . Steven Jackson, with 990 yards, needs 10 to reach 1,000 yards for the eighth consecutive season. Jackson has scored four touchdowns . . . Danny Amendola has 59 catches for 639 yards and three TDs to lead the Rams in receiving . . .The Rams are third in the league with 46 sacks after five Sunday . . . Rookie Janoris Jenkins has returned three interceptions for touchdowns, one shy of the league mark.
RAMS QUARTERBACKS: Sam Bradford has completed 303 of 509 passes (59.9 percent) for 3,450 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions for a passer rating of 83.2. Bradford has exceeded 300 passing yards in a game three times, most recently Dec. 16 vs. Minnesota, when he threw for 377 and three TDs in a 36-22 loss. Bradford is coming off a 196-yard, 2-TD performance in a 28-13 win at Tampa Bay.
RAMS HEAD COACH: Jeff Fisher (149-148-0 overall, 7-7-1 in St. Louis) is in his first year. Fisher served as the head coach of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans from 1994-09. His NFL start was as a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears (1985) and has also worked for the Philadelphia Eagles (1986-87), Los Angeles Rams (1991) and San Francisco 49ers (1992-93). He coached the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.
KEY DATES: Jan. 5-6— Wild Card weekend; Jan. 12-13 — Divisional playoffs; Jan. 19-20 — Conference championships; Jan. 27 — Pro Bowl (Honolulu); Feb. 3 — Super Bowl, New Orleans. Feb. 20-26 — NFL combine (Indianapolis); April 25-27 — NFL draft.
NFC West Standings
|S. Francisco||10-4-1||2-2-1||Sunday vs. Arizona|
|Seattle||10-5||2-3||Sunday vs. St. Louis|
|St. Louis||7-7-1||4-0-1||Sunday at Seattle|
|Arizona||5-10||1-4||Sunday at S. Francisco|
COMING UP: The Seahawks will play an NFC wild card game on a date and site to be determined.
2012 Seahawks Preseason Schedule
|8/11/12||vs. Tennessee||7 p.m.||Q13||W||27-17||1-0|
|8/18/12||at Denver||6 p.m.||Q13||W||30-10||2-0|
|8/24/12||at Kansas City||5 p.m.||Q13||W||44-14||3-0|
|8/30/12||vs. Oakland||7 p.m.||Q13||W||21-3||4-0|
2012 Seahawks Regular-Season Schedule
|9/9/12||at Arizona||1:25 p.m.||FOX||L||20-16||0-1|
|9/16/12||vs. Dallas||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||27-7||1-1|
|9/24/12||vs. Green Bay||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||W||14-12||2-1|
|9/30/12||at St. Louis||10 a.m.||FOX||L||19-13||2-2|
|10/7/12||at Carolina||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||16-12||3-2|
|10/14/12||vs. N. England||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||24-23||4-2|
|10/18/12||at S. Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NFLN||L||13-6||4-3|
|10/28/12||at Detroit||10 a.m.||FOX||L||28-24||4-4|
|11/4/12||vs. Minnesota||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||30-20||5-4|
|11/11/11||vs. NY Jets||1:05 p.m.||CBS||W||28-7||6-4|
|11/25/12||at Miami||10 a.m.||FOX||L||24-21||6-5|
|12/2/12||at Chicago||10 a.m.||FOX||W||23-17||7-5|
|12/9/12||vs. Arizona||1:15 p.m.||FOX||W||58-0||8-5|
|12/16/12||*at Buffalo||1:05 p.m.||FOX||W||50-17||9-5|
|12/23/12||vs. San Francisco||5:20 p.m.||NBC||W||42-13||10-5|
|12/30/12||vs. St. Louis||1:15 p.m.||FOX||—||—||—|
* in Toronto
2012 Seahawks Capsules
Aug. 11 Seahawks 27, Titans 17 (at Seattle) — Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson ran for a touchdown and passed for one, leading the Seahawks over a Tennessee Titans team featuring two quarterbacks with strong local ties, ex-Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck and ex-Husky Jake Locker. Hasselbeck threw two interceptions while Locker completed 7 of 13 for 80 yards.
Aug. 18: Seahawks 30, Broncos 10 (at Denver) — Starting his second straight exhibition game, QB Matt Flynn failed to seize control of the quarterback job, finishing 6 of 13 for 31 yards with no TDs or INTs. But Wilson made a case for himself by completing 10 of 17 for 155 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 28.5. The Seahawks finished with 228 yards rushing, led by Sutton’s 48 yards on three carries.
Aug. 24: Seahawks 44, Chiefs 14 (at Kansas City) — Wilson completed 10 of 17 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns. With Wilson playing into the second half, Seattle scored 21 points, overcoming a 10-9 halftime deficit. Earl Thomas made the big defensive play, returning an interception 75 yards for a touchdown. Flynn did not play due to injury.
Aug. 30: Seahawks 21, Raiders 3 (at Seattle): Flynn, getting most of the snaps, completed 11 of 13 passes for 102 yards. Seahawks outgained the Raiders 334 yards to 101.
Sept. 8: Cardinals 20, Seahawks 16 (at Phoenix): Despite seven tries inside Arizona’s red zone in final minute, the Seahawks could not score the game-winning touchdown. The Seahawks overcame a tepid first half offensively thanks to an 83-yard kickoff return and a 52-yard punt return by Leon Washington.
Sept. 15: Seahawks 27, Cowboys 7 (at Seattle): The Seahawks took a 10-0 lead in less than five minutes when Michael Robinson forced Felix Jones to fumble the opening kickoff, leading to a short field goal, and Malcolm Smith blocked Chris Jones’ punt and Jeron Johnson returned it for a touchdown. Marshawn Lynch ran for 122 yards and the defense allowed the Cowboys only 34 yards and three first downs in the second half.
Sept. 24: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 (at Seattle): Russell Wilson and Golden Tate hooked up on a wildly controversial 24-yard touchdown pass as the clock ran out, giving the Seahawks a dramatic victory. As Wilson’s pass reached the end zone, Tate committed a pushing penalty that wasn’t called. Green Bay’s M.D. Jennings intercepted the ball and Tate tried to wrestle it away. One official ruled no touchdown, another signaled TD. After review, Tate was awarded the touchdown. The Seahawks had eight sacks in the first half, a record-tying four by Chris Clemons.
Sept. 30: Rams 19, Seahawks 13 (at St. Louis): Rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein booted four field goals, including a club-record 58-yarder which he later topped with a 60-yarder, as the Rams handed Seattle its second NFC West loss. Zuerlein also was a perfect decoy on the biggest play of the day — a fake field goal that turned into a two-yard touchdown pass from punter Johnny Hekker to Danny Amendola. The score put the Rams (2-2) ahead 10-7 late in the first half. Marshawn Lynch ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, but Russell Wilson threw three interceptions.
Oct. 7: Seahawks 16, Panthers 12: (at Charlotte): The Seahawks used a series of big defensive plays, the best pass of Russell Wilson’s NFL career, and a planned safety in the final minute to edge Carolina. Cornerback Brandon Browner made two of the three biggest defensive stops. With Carolina at the Seattle 27-yard line in the third quarter, Browner stripped the ball from DeAngelo Williams, giving the Seahawks a chance to take the lead after they had fallen behind 10-6 on Wilson’s worst pass of the season. Less than three minutes into the second half, Wilson threw behind intended receiver Anthony McCoy, and Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn snatched the ball and raced 33 yards for a touchdown that put the Panthers ahead 10-6. But after Browner stripped Williams. Wilson, on a third-and-eight from the Carolina 13, rocketed a slant pass to Golden Tate for a touchdown.
Oct. 14: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23: Russell Wilson threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 1:18 to play to give the Seahawks a come-from-behind victory. The Seahawks trailed 23-10 in the second half, but Wilson fired touchdown passes to Doug Baldwin and Braylon Edwards before finding Rice with the game-winning throw.
Oct. 18: 49ers 13, Seahawks 6: Alex Smith threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker late in the third quarter and San Francisco held off the Seahawks in a battle for first place in the NFC West. Frank Gore ran for 131 yards. The 49ers made just enough plays to win a defense-first game. Marshawn Lynch ran for 103 yards for Seattle, but Russell Wilson couldn’t generate a passing game, going 9 of 23 for 122 yards and a passer rating of 38.7.
Oct. 28: Lions 28, Seahawks 24: Titus Young caught his second touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford on a one-yard slant with 20 seconds left, lifting Detroit. Young needed to make the second TD catch after Zach Miller had a spectacular, 16-yard snag on a toss from Russell Wilson with 5:27 left that put the Seahawks ahead. But Seattle (4-4) couldn’t stop the Lions (3-4) on their last possession.
Nov. 4: Seahawks 30, Vikings 20: Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown, Wilson threw three first-half touchdown passes, and the Seahawks overcame 182 yards by Adrian Peterson to snap a two-game losing streak. Peterson tore through the Seahawks defense for one of the finest games of his career, yet was stuck being a spectator as Seattle slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter, mostly on the legs of Lynch, with a few key passes by Wilson.
Nov. 11: Seahawks 28, N.J. Jets 7: Wilson threw two touchdowns to Sidney Rice, and Lynch ran for 124 yards and a touchdown as the Seahawks overwhelmed the Jets at CenturyLink Field. Rice also threw the first pass of his NFL career, completing a 23-yard touchdown to Golden Tate.
Nov. 25: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21: Dan Carpenter hit a 43-yard field goal at the final gun after Ryan Tannehill led a 65-yard, six-play drive, and the Dolphins rallied to beat the Seahawks at SunLife Stadium. Miami scored 17 points in the final 8:08 after the Seahawks took the lead on a 98-yard kickoff return by Leon Washington. The eighth KOR TD of Washington’s career tied the league record. Russell Wilson completed 21 of 27, including 16 in a row, for 224 yards, two TDs and a passer rating of 125.9.
Dec. 2: Seahawks 23, Bears 18 (OT): Wilson engineered scoring drives of 97 and 80 yards at the end of regulation and in overtime, finishing off with touchdown passes to Golden Tate and Sidney Rice, giving the Seahawks their third consecutive win at Soldier Field and just their second victory of the season on the road. After Wilson led the Seahawks on a 12-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 14-yard TD pass to Tate, the Bears tied the score at 17-17 with 24 seconds to play on a Robbie Gould field goal. The Seahawks won the OT coin flip and Wilson directed an 80-yard, 12-play drive that ended with a 13-yard TD to Rice.
Dec. 9: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0: Lynch ran for three touchdowns and the Seahawks intercepted four passes and recovered four fumbles en route to the fourth-largest shutout victory in NFL history. The Seahawks scored five ways against the Cardinals, including run, pass, interception return, fumbled punt return and field goal. Seattle’s previous largest shutout win was 45-0 over Kansas City in the Kingdome Nov. 4, 1984.
Dec. 16: Seahawks 50, Bills 17: Wilson set a franchise record by rushing for three touchdowns in leading the Seahawks to another historic win. The Seahawks became the first team since the 1950 Rams and Giants to score 50 or more points in consecutive games. Wilson scored on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards, all in the first half. He also threw a touchdown pass to Zach Miller as the Seahawks rolled to a 31-7 lead and cruised at Rogers Center in Toronto.
Dec. 23: Seahawks 42, 49ers 13: Russell Wilson threw four touchdown passes, two to Doug Baldwin, and Richard Sherman returned a blocked field goal 90 yards to a touchdown as the Seahawks overwhelmed the division-leading 49ers to clinch their first playoff spot since 2010. The Seahawks, who also received a rushing and receiving touchdown from Lynch, rolled to a 31-3 lead.